Gaming and Music Testing
After 60 hours testing, game play, music, videos, Skype, Movies and moving across 8 computers, 3 tablets, an Xbox One1 and a smartphone you’d think I’d be tired of the Cloud II and ready to put it aside for a while. Yet as I write the Cloud II is cranking out Aerosmith “Dream on”. Every note, every word and sometimes hidden studio sounds I’ve never heard come through with a tonal quality you’d expect from much more expensive Dolby 2.0 headset. The Dolby 2.0 reproduction of the HyperX Cloud II is better than any headset in the sub $100 price range that I have ever experienced. I have some very high end audiophile 2.0 headphones that cost 3.5 times what the HyperX Cloud II costs and the difference in tonal quality as far as I can tell is about $250 I didn’t need to spend. Music is reproduced flawlessly and in many cases I heard things in the music I had never heard before. At times the 7.1 virtual surround sound provided by the built in soundcard somewhat muddied the Bass reproduction but Virtual 7.1 surround sound is for games and Video not music reproduction so I won’t be holding that against the HyperX Cloud II.
Gaming with the headset was a comfortable and immersive experience, the virtual 7.1 surround sound did help in locating the direction of both ambient sounds and subdued battle indicators. At times I could hear a twig crackle or bushes moving that i had never even suspected the games to be capable of. Automatic fire weapons and explosions drop on you so hard that at times you jump, The frequency range of the HyperX Cloud 2 runs up to 25KHz and while humans can’t hear at that frequency they can feel the bone conductivity. The bone conductivity took some getting used to because I was not used to a headset literally shaking my head at times.
The volume controls for both the Headset and Microphone are well appreciated as they are easy to understand and use. I would warn the reader to start out at lower volumes (in the 25% range) because you might prefer your brain in a solid state rather than a liquid state. If you like it loud and raunchy crank the HyperX Cloud II up but neither I or Kingston will be responsible for any holes in the ceiling from Startle Responses.
No matter what platform we tested the HyperX Cloud II on, PC, Xbox, Smartphone, MP3 player or tablet the headset delivered mind blowing sound reproduction and at the expected sub $100 price launch well worth the investment.
To test the microphone I recorded my voice VOIP to a website several times then downloaded the resulting files and listened to the playback for any strange artifacts in the files. Voice playback was clean and contained no whistling breath noises or annoying distortion. We went on Skype and chatted with friends and family for an hour or so and there were no problems on the other end understanding what was said.
To the average gamer today a microphone must produce clear understandable VOIP for MMORPG and MMORTS games, part of that is internet connection, Wireless or Wired connection to the router, connection speed and peak period usage hours. We tested on WoW, World of Tanks and Starcraft II using Mumble, Skype, Teamspeak, Razer Comms, and Raidcall. The HyperX Cloud II worked on all 5 (Free) VOIP services we tried, we didn’t have to fidget with anything it just worked. Communications were clear and crisp enhancing the game play experience considerably.
Sound and Tonal Testing
Some of the benchmarks can be found Here (http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php)
I will provide a description of each test to better give you an idea what the test is looking for.
Frequency Response Bass and Treble
“The first file tests your headphones’ bass extension. Play back the file until you start hearing the underlying sweeping tone as it rises. The voiceover tells you the frequency you have reached: this number represents the lowest boundary of your headphones or earbuds frequency extension. Good headphones will go as low as 20 Hz, the lowest limit of our hearing.”
“The second file tests your headphones’ treble extension. To measure your headphones’ highest frequency, play back the second file until you start hearing the underlying (high pitched) sweep tone as it descends. Good headphones will reproduce frequencies up to 20 kHz, the upper limit of human hearing range.”
Frequency Response Result – Bass 10Hz
Frequency Response Result – Treble 21KHz (Note as you age your ability to hear this range decreases so the result is somewhat subjective)
“Ideally, you want your headphones to reproduce all frequencies consistently between the lower and upper limits, without a dip or peak in a particular frequency range. Absolute flatness is not exactly what you are looking for, though. Your hearing may not be perfect, and if you think about it, the best headphones are those that compensate for your particular hearing curve. It doesn’t matter if your headphones are not flat, as long as they sound flat through your ears.”
Spectral Flatness Result – No perceived peaks or vallys from 20Hz to 20,000Hz all tones reproduced without variance or warble
“Dynamic range represents the ratio between the loudest signal you can hear and the quietest. Dynamic range is not part of any headphone specification, but will help you when bench-marking the isolation offered by your headphone in a noisy environment.”
Dynamic Range Result – 60dBfs (60 decibles below full scale) tested with a window box fan at low, medium and high setting, even at highest setting the fan couldn’t he heard.
“Poorly built or extensively worn headphones may start to rattle whenever loud or deep bass content is played. The next file scans bass frequencies and will literally shake your drivers when turning the level up. Adjust the volume in your headphone so that the test is made at a high level: the sweeping tone should remain pure and clear at all frequencies, without any parasitic buzz or rattle appearing in one earpiece or the other.”
Quality Result – No parasitic buzz or rattle detected
“Better headphones have tighter tolerances in the variation of their drivers’ frequency responses. To reproduce a faithful stereo image, the left and the right drivers must respond equally to every frequency in the audible spectrum. When this condition is fulfilled, the drivers are said to be “matched.””
Driver Matching Result – both drivers provide the same tonal quality in both ears, no deviation drivers are “Matched”
“Headphones that are properly wired will route the left channel to the left earpiece, and the right channel to the right (this makes sense). More important, relative polarity between drivers must be preserved: when presented with the same input signal, both drivers should move in the same direction, not opposite of each other.”
Wiring Result – Both Left and right channels are wired correctly, polarity is preserved and the wiring in the headset shows no faults
“Binaural recordings are made by placing microphones directly in one’s ear, capturing the sound that reaches the pinnae. By playing back the recording through headphones, one ensures that each of the listener’s ears get the exact same signal as originally captured. The result is immersive and truly surprising, but only works with headphones.”
Binaural Test Result – Headset reproduces lifelike sounds without distortion